Useful Learning Offering an MBA has become a lucrative industry; securing a suitable course at the right institute amid a profusion of colleges is another matter.
46 May 2012 BTM
Opting for an MBA is often a life-changing decision, considering the amount of time and money that is invested in the process. While there is no dearth of institutes offering MBA programmes in the market, picking the right programme can turn out to be a mind-boggling exercise. Ron Bradfield, regional director of the Strathclyde Business School in Abu Dhabi, has some basic advice for aspirants. “The most important point to consider is ‘what you want from an MBA programme’. In case all you want is those three magical letters ‘MBA’ after your name, any institute that you can afford will suffice. However, if you want more, you will need to dig deeper,” he says. One of the most reliable sources of information for potential candidates could be the word of mouth testimonials from current students as well as alumni of any institute. Glasgow-based University of Strathclyde is a charitable body which has run an offshore executive MBA programme in Bahrain since 1995. Ron is quick to point out that an offshore course should not be confused with online or distance learning programmes. “Our part-time MBA is taught face-to-face; intensive seminars are conducted every month by Strathclyde academics, who fly in from Scotland. There are workshops held over weekends, which are run by our faculty. In addition to this, weekly tutorial
sessions are held by local counsellors, most of who are Strathclyde alumni,” he says. The programme is structured flexibly, keeping in mind the busy executives who are working full-time and studying parttime. Though students can take up to six years to complete the two-year course, a majority take no more than three years. Ron is happy to inform that the school has a small intake, with two batches annually comprising around 35 candidates each. “We’re highly focussed on delivering a high quality MBA and the small intake makes it sustainable. The average age of our students is 31 and they have around five to seven years of work experience, much of it in managerial positions,” he says. While this is a generalist MBA programme covering 14 subjects, there are four to five courses on strategy alone. Given the popular demand for the course in entrepreneurship, Ron’s not surprised that 30 per cent of the alumni from Bahrain campus has gone on to launch their own businesses. “Around 67 per cent of the population in the Middle East region is below 25 years of age; employment and employability will be crucial issues in the years to come. Back in Scotland, our focus has always been on entrepreneurship. With our Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, we are one of the only three universities in the UK that run an entrepreneurship centre,” he notes. E Visit firstname.lastname@example.org